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Lessons from the 60 Day Challenge by Jaya Wagle


I finished the 60-day challenge and all I got was a new body, a new mind and a new life!

I finished my second 60-day challenge on Aug 3, 60 classes in 59 days. I will admit it was tough going for a while. By class 26 I had missed 9 classes and wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish the challenge on August 4.

Double or bust: At this point, I had a choice to either abandon my challenge or do doubles and make up for the lost days.

Side note: For those of you not aware with yoga terminology, a double is when you do two classes in one day, either back to back or a few classes apart.

Lucky for me, I had various options to choose from at BYNT. So, for the last three weeks, I did three to four doubles every week. The variations are endless but I settled on 60-minute Bikram followed by IHP, Yin followed by 60, once I did two 60s back to back, and once IHP followed by 60. I will not recommend the last option, but all other options worked for me.

Tiger Balm is your best friend: Because you will be sore some days, you will want to quit the next day but Tiger Balm is magic for sore muscles, as well as a healthy diet, lots of hydration and a good night’s sleep. So, get the little octagonal glass jar, stock up on leafy greens, fruits and lean protein, invest in some soothing music for bedtime, and tackle the challenge like a champ that you are.

Will you lose weight?

Ladies, most likely you will gain some muscle mass, especially if you are rocking it out in Maria’s IHP classes twice a week. But I promise you, your skin will glow, your hair will be lustrous and your body will be toned like never before. For other benefits, read below.

Gents, we hate you for losing weight at a faster rate than us, but its biology we can’t fight. So, we will support you and love you for doing the 60-day challenge and secretly be jealous of how fast you are losing weight. My better half loses a pound a week when he practices Bikram four to five times a week!

Why am I telling you this?

One, because Stacy asked me to.

Second, because doing the challenge has its benefits and not just physical. Not only do my clothes fit better, I have lots of energy, I feel calmer and more focused. The challenge tested my will power and after completion, I know I can do what I set my mind to, most of the time. But I also realize that it’s not the end all and be all. It would have been ok if I hadn’t managed to finish the challenge. I’d have started again. I point you to my previous two failed attempts because of changes in my school and teaching schedule. I look at it as falling out in bow pose and going back in again because the time is not up yet.

Three, when Stacy says Bikram yoga impacts your life not just in class but outside as well. she’s not wrong.

Evidence: I had tackled my first challenge in the summer of 2010, doing 90-minute classes, most of them at 5.30 AM and finished 60 classes in 60 days. As I was completing it, I realized I was sleeping through the night and waking up rested and refreshed.

The second and third unsuccessful attempts, also had extraneous benefits. I got accepted to UNT’s prestigious graduate creative writing program. I started working as a teaching assistant for the English department the third time around. So, even though I didn’t finish those two challenges, I feel regular Bikram visits gave me a more positive outlook and prepared me to take on new challenges.

As I was completing my fourth challenge, I was offered another career advancing opportunity to teach labs in the Mayborn School of Journalism at UNT.

So, when Stacy says good things happen outside of the hot studio, believe her and go forth and tackle a challenge. You’ll be glad you did it.

If you have read through my missive, I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my better half, for not only introducing me to Bikram but in supporting and enabling my addiction to Bikram. I’d also like to thank all the wonderful teachers at Bikram, with a special shout out to Greg Williams for correcting my triangle pose, Suzanne Johnson for checking my standing bow pose, Nicole at the front desk for repeatedly checking my days and being my cheerleader and my fellow yogis and yoginis who checked on my progress and gave me fist bumps and shoulder taps though the whole process.